Hugreen Finds a Better Way for Small Farm Irrigation

Kelly MarshallAgribusiness, Irrigation, Water Management

gnomeHugreen is an agriculture technology startup dedicated to bringing high tech precision solutions to smallholder farmers. The company has just announced an Indiegogo campaign for Gnome, their flagship product that uses solar and radio frequency to power a smart irrigation system.

The Gnome system is comprised of a network of sensors and water valves, connected to one central hub:
The hub is the control center for Gnome’s sensors and valves. It can link up to 30 nodes (sensors and valves) that are within a 1km radius range, and connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi. – Its primary function is to send data to the user and relay commands to the nodes.

The sensors monitor fertilizer level, sunlight exposure, soil temperature, and ambient temperature via four stainless steel probes.

The valves control water flow of the sprinkler system remotely, which can handle water pressure up to 115 psi.
Gnome is the only IoT sensor that can measure fertilizer level and soil moisture concurrently. Gnome uses industrial level Frequency Domain Reflectometry (FDR) technology to measure the presence of fertilizer and uses that data to get an unbiased soil moisture level, which is typically only found in more expensive non-smart sensors.

Clement Lee is the founder of Hugreen.  He began is career as a solar researcher and engineer leading projects for an international solar tech corporation.  “I quit my job and started building rooftop gardens in Hong Kong, but wasn’t pleased with the tech solutions available to monitor and adjust irrigation as there was a lot of unnecessary waste,” he said. “So I decided to combine my background in engineering and passion for sustainable farming to create solar-powered technology that makes is possible for everyone to grow.”

Gnome’s app allows users to manage the water system remotely.  Alerts are sent when the soil becomes too dry, or the water is too warm.  Being able to adjust the system or automate timers based on soil moisture, saves time, money and resources.

In addition, the app offers information about growing plants. “The Gnome app has a comprehensive plant database that can teach you how to optimize growing at your location,” Lee said. “Based on plant type, seasonality and location, Gnome can tell you what parameters would be best for this plant and ways you can achieve them.”

Unit prices begin at $120.